Who are the surprise packages at Euro 2016?

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France, Spain, Germany and even Belgium have been mentioned when the question of ‘who will win the European Championships?’ has been asked. England, Italy, and Portugal have also been tipped for glory, though without much confidence. 

However, the issue of the surprise package hasn't been fully dealt with, and nationals of these countries will be quietly optimistic of repeating Greece's 2004 triumph. 

The competition is hosting a new format this year, including 24 teams.This allows greater opportunities for outsiders as third-placed teams will be able to progress into the Round of 16 and potentially even further. 


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The first potential surprise package is Austria. This is largely due to their impressive qualifying campaign as they finished above Sweden and Russia to claim top spot of their group.

Nine out of ten wins based on a strong defensive ethos allowed Marcel Koller’s side to base their attack from their deep-lying midfield.

German based midfielders David Alaba and Julian Baumgartlinger offer a protection for the defence but also assist Marko Arnautović, Martin Harnik and Zlatko Junuzović in going forward.

The squad’s main weakness is up front, with chief striker Marc Janko not possessing a great threat. 

Austria are likely to progress through Group F with Portugal, Hungary and Iceland as opponents, so it will be exciting to see how far they can go. 


Sweden emerged victorious from their play-off win against Denmark after a disappointing qualifying campaign.

Erik Hamren's squad selection has proved a mixed bag, as their elder stars are in there with some exciting young talent, many of whom helped Sweden to the under-21 European Championships. 

Frankly, their chances rest on which Zlatan Ibrahimovic turns up to France. A good day for the striker, mixed with their experienced midfield, and the Scandinavians could well escape from a tricky group where they will face Belgium, Italy, and the Republic of Ireland. 


The last surprise package is Poland as their potent strike partnership of Arkadiusz Milik and Robert Lewandowski will be feared by any opponent’s defence. 

Lukasz Piszczek and skipper Jakub Blaszczykowski are also a formidable partnership down the right, with Piotr Zieliński’s creativity in midfield likely to counter-balance their defensive fragilities.

That force going forward should see the Eastern Europeans progress past Ukraine and Northern Ireland to join expected winners Germany in the next round.

Time will tell who can produce the surprise of the tournament.

However, the one thing we can be certain of is that the new format offers great excitement for the fans. 

Can Poland, Austria, or Sweden upset the odds at Euro 2016? Have your say in the comments. 

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Euro 2016
Robert Lewandowski

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